Soccer Field Reveries

I felt it last night on my walk home from work- that first, crisp chill in the air that marks the inevitable transition from summer to fall.

Maybe it’s the season, or maybe it’s Phillip Roth’s American Pastoral which I’ve been reading lately, but I find myself waxing nostalgic about my days on the high school soccer field, and wishing I could be transported back there- even just for a day. 

I never felt as at home, as secure, as I did at our local soccer complex. I loved everything about it-the smell of the freshly cut grass; the crisp fall air; the gentle clouds of smoke that wafted above from neighbors burning leaves in their backyards.

My memories of this place all seem to coagulate around the fall of 2002. I was 16, “going on 25” as my mom would say (a colorful way of describing my “attitude problem”), and a starting midfielder on my high school soccer team , The Warriors. Like most high school athletes, I derived a huge part of my identity from this. Soccer- my team- was everything. I lived, breathed and slept the sport, spending countless hours at the field at games and practices. When I wasn’t playing, I was cheering on the boys’ team, snacking on watery hot chocolate and 50 cent Cheetos from the clubhouse and huddling under blankets with my teammates to stay warm.

The new soccer complex in our town had been completed the previous summer, and I couldn’t wait to get out there and tear up the freshly lain sod. My newly laundered socks were begging to be covered in grass stains, and I craved the telltale “swoosh” of the ball hitting the back of the still-taught net.

Coming into our sophomore year, my teammates and I were hungry. We had narrowly missed a provincial championship the year before (to a team who wore skirts for uniforms, no less) and vowed not to let the title escape our grasp again. On our vibrant purple and gold jerseys, we had pinned badges with the name of a fellow teammate we had lost to cancer the year before.  Her name became our pre-game rally cry, and she was forever in the back of our minds- “Forever a Warrior” as our jerseys proclaimed- motivating us even further to win each game.

As if this weren’t inspiration enough, it was also the final year we, or anyone for that matter, would wear those jerseys. The next fall, our school would be merging with two others to form a brand new “super school”.  With our futures, both in soccer and friendship, uncertain, we clung to those moments on the field like the clumps of packed mud between the spikes on our cleats.

And so we showed up for practice, every day after school- taking endless penalty shots and running drills against the backdrop of the quickly setting sun. Our coach, notoriously tough but fair, was armed with an intensity rivaling both Harbaugh brothers put together . He worked us to the bone; devoting entire practices to suicide drills, and having us lie on the darkened school library floor the night before important games, where he led us through a series of “visualization exercises”.

All of this hard work paid off though, and after an undefeated regular season, we won the right to host the regional championships at our home field. There was a giant pep rally in our school foyer, and the entire school was let out early to watch our first game. One of the girls on our team had gone to the dollar store and bought purple and gold ribbons, and we took turns braiding them through each other’s hair as we warmed up. It was a freezing October day; and despite the fact that we had sweaters layered under our jerseys, and leggings under our shorts, we couldn’t have felt more like Queens.

We won that game. And every game thereafter that weekend to take home the regional title.  

After that, my memory grows a little foggy. I remember making it to provincials, and facing off against the skirt-clad mafia once again, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember how we did. What I do remember are the bus rides spent laughing uncontrollably with my teammates; the hotel hijinks; and the fresh orange slices someone’s mom brought out at half time. More than anything though, I remember our field- the smell, the sound, the camaraderie unlike anything I’ve experienced since- and the way it all made me feel. And that, I think, is enough. 


Question of the Day:

(and today’s Writing101 Theme)

If you could zoom through space (and time) in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?


Friday Five – Music, Movies and My New Vacuum Cleaner

TGIF Guys!


Time for some random things I’ve been thinking about this week:

1. Dyson Vacuums

In what was potentially the most grown-up purchase I have ever made, I bought a Dyson Vacuum online yesterday.

Yes, my life has really come to writing about vacuum cleaners.

I mentioned to my coworker that I needed a new vacuum, and she directed me to the Dyson refurbished site where you can get refurbished vacuums with full warranty at discounted prices.

Not gonna lie, it was still a substantial investment (for the price of this puppy, I’m expecting it to be gilded in solid gold); but apparently Dysons are like the Cadillac of vacuums and have all sorts of crazy features and European technology. Do any of you guys have one?  Is it going to change my life?? Cause I’m beginning to wonder if I should’ve just sprang for Rosie from the Jetsons instead….


2. This Song

3. 15 Reasons To Live

I saw this documentary last week at The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto and really enjoyed it. It’s by Canadian filmmaker, Alan Zweig, who was inspired by a list his friend wrote of his 15 reasons to live. Zweig set out to find a story to match each one, and compiled them all into this lovely little film. While I enjoyed and identified with certain stories more than others, I would still recommend checking it out.. especially if you need a good ugly cry. (Toronto showtimes here)

4. My New Writing Class

I recently started a new writing class at The University of Toronto, and our first assignment was to write about our first memories. I assumed we would just hand them in to the teacher, but NO. Instead, we did a “self-editing exercise” where we handed our stories to the person on our right and had THEM READ IT ALOUD.  I was like:


SO nerve-wracking, guys. I almost ran screaming from the class right there on the spot, but it actually ended up being sort of helpful-  you got to hear how your story sounded from a (somewhat) objective perspective, and which parts worked and which fell flat. Still, though, I think for now I’ll stick to hiding behind my screen

5.  Misguided Running Aspirations

So I signed up for a 10k race on November 3rd. I don’t know why. I guess I just hate myself.

friday7 Also, it gives me an excuse to eat an obscene amount of pancakes afterwards.

Stacks on stacks on stacks
Stacks on stacks on stacks

Anyway, now I have to train for this noise, which is even more painful than usual for two reasons:

1. My headphones broke last week, and I have since  been using the Air Canada in-flight variety. They have a maximum volume of like, 2, and make everything sound vaguely underwater. (Headphone suggestions ??)

2. I accidentally washed a fuchsia Lululemon top with the rest of my laundry the other day and turned ALL of my workout clothes a slight tinge of pink. I now feel like the Elle Woods of mediocre running.


So yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about this!!!

Question of the Day:

Have you ever taken a writing class? Do you want to?

P.S. If you haven’t already, please go read my post about Scott Jones and support him!

The Fantasy Boyfriend Draft

It’s that time of year again, folks- when body paint, beer and tailgate parties abound, and the men in your life fall into a state of temporary insanity for the next few months.


That’s right it’s football season!


How do I, a girl whose only knowledge of football stems from the movie The Water Boy, even know this, you might ask?


Because for the past two weeks, I have listened to nothing but my male coworkers and friends discuss their fantasy football leagues.


While at first I sat there bored to tears, praying for imminent death, after a while the idea of a fantasy draft started to sound kind of appealing to me. Not the football part of course – more the plotting, scheming, strategizing and overall shit-talking involved. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a fantasy draft focused on something I actually cared about?

…. like boys.

You guys… what if there was A FANTASY BOYFRIEND LEAGUE??

A dream-like place where a roster of all of your ideal boyfriends would compete against teams of other ladies’ choosing in all of the manliest of activities? I’ m talking wood chopping, moustache growing, outdoor survival skills, shirtless acoustic guitar playing, and of course- the manliest of all artisinal crafts: furniture making.

Or maybe they would just fan you with palm fronds and feed you bunches of grapes all day. I haven’t quite figured it all out just yet.

But what I HAVE figured out, is who would make up my team. Hold onto your hats ladies, because the draft is about to begin!

Round 1: Ryan Gosling


You knew it was coming. Like 99.999% of the other women on the planet, I’ve loved this piece of sexy Canadian man-candy since he first stole my heart as Sean on Breaker High.


That pleather jacket! My heart be still.

Round 2: Bradley Cooper


In the event that the reigning Sexiest Man Alive happened to still be available, you better believe he’d be coming home with me as a second round draft pick. Not only has homeboy got the whole rugged, charmingly befuddled thing going on, he also loves his mama.


Round 3: Seth Meyers


The lovable SNL head writer and Weekend Update host always had a special place in my heart- despite the fact that he is already engaged to a (different) sexy lawyer. Well, Seth- I just have one thing to say about that:

Really? Really?


Round 4: Joseph Gordon Levitt


Hey JGL, what’s that vest made of? Oh yeah… BOYFRIEND MATERIAL.

Ever since I saw him rocking out to The Smiths in 500 Days of Summer, I knew the indie heart-throb had to be mine. In fact, I’d take him even with this haircut:

That’s love.

Round 5: Rafael Nadal


Since every fantasy boyfriend team needs at least one professional athlete (<– I just made that rule up right now), I have chosen the 12-time Grand Slam winning tennis star and sexy Spaniard that is Rafa. Admittedly- his English is a bit touch and go – but something tells me I could learn look past that.

…..with these biceps. (Please ignore the fact that he looks a bit like Michelangelo in this pic)


Round 6: Jason Sudeikis


Damn you and your perfect cheekbones, Olivia Wilde! Why must you take my perfect man away from me!

Round 7: Colin Firth


This one needs no explaining. If my boy Mark Darcy isn’t the penultimate boyfriend, then I really don’t know who is.

Yes, I like you very much, Colin – just as you are.

Round 8: Chris O’Dowd


This one falls into my “up and comer” category. I first developed a crush on this Irish hottie when he portrayed Kristin Wiig’s love interest in Bridesmaids. This crush later blossomed into a full-on stalker flower while watching him HBO’s Family Tree. He’s cute, tall, funny, loveable- and I kinda wanna pinch his cheeks.

It’s not weird.

Round 9: Joel McHale


Joel for me falls into the “underrated” category. He cracks me up every day on The Soup and is hella handsome, but for some reason hasn’t reached leading man status just yet. Don’t worry Joel.. you’re a leading man in my heart.

Round 10: Thomas Mars


This might seem like a strange pick, given that he is not all that conventionally good-looking, but I’ve been seriously crushing on the Phoenix lead singer since I saw him crowd surf at Lollapalooza.


Plus, he’s married to Sofia Coppola which officially makes him 1/2 of the coolest couple of all time. Sigh.


P.S. Did I just use the expression “seriously crushing”?


Round 11: Jay Baruchel

I’ve loved the Canadian funny man since I used to watch him on “Popular Mechanics For Kids” alongside Elisha Cuthbert.

Popular Mechanics for Kids l-r Alisha, Jay
Yes, this really happened.

Since he only lives a few hours away in Montreal, I actually kind of like my chances on this one. It’s all about pipe dreams, kids.

Round 12: Prince Harry


I was about to cut it off at 11, but then I remembered that every fantasy boyfriend team needs a royal! Enter Prince Hot Ginge (or “PHG”). While the reality of ginger babies would be a risk I would have to take, I’m confident PHG’s playfullness, charm and winning smile would outweigh the potential downsides. Plus, I just love attention. Bring on the paparazzi!!

Question of the Day: Who would be on your fantasy boyfriend (or girlfriend) team?

Dude, Where’s My Karma?

This past weekend, I attended my first hot yoga class.

Trust me- it was way less sexy than it sounds.

Despite the fact that Yoga is so hot right now, I’ve never really gotten into it. When it comes to exercise, I’m a complete cradle-to-grave treadmill enthusiast. (And by “enthusiast”, I mean I hate it marginally less than every other form of physical activity). I like running because it’s intense, high impact, and I can zone out for 30 minutes without having to listen to an annoying instructor.

Except her, who I would clearly make an exception for.
Except her, who I would clearly make an exception for.

Lately, however, my patience with the dreadmill has been waning. The whole Watching The Food Network on closed caption and trying not to look at the anorexic b*tch to my right, lest she give me a complex  routine was starting to get old- real fast. I needed to make a change before I turned the treadmill emergency cord into a weapon of self-harm.


Also, if the paragraph above didn’t adequately convey this, I could use a little more zen in my life.

So I asked a friend of mine who is a regular Yogi if I could attend a class with her. She was all for it, and suggested a Saturday morning hot hatha yoga class for beginners.

Hatha what now?

Hot Hatha Yoga is a challenging series of hot yoga postures and breathing exercises conducted in a heated room to systematically warm, stretch and strengthen the major muscle groups……All internal organs and glands are stimulated, balancing the body’s natural chemical and hormonal levels.”


Kinda sounded like new age mumbo jumbo to me, but I agreed to give it a go.

I woke up Saturday morning immediately regretting my decision. I had been out late the night before, overindulging in way too much prosecco, mini cupcakes, and cheese. Oh God the cheese.


The last thing I wanted to do was contort my body into pretzel-like positions in front of total strangers.  But I had to blog about it committed to my friend, so I peeled my ass out of bed and got ready.

I knew I was in trouble the second I walked into the room. Not only was it approximately 40 degrees celsius in there, it was also filled with hard-bodied, lululemon clad 20-somethings. I shot my friend a look that said “I THOUGHT YOU SAID BEGINNERS, B*TCH??” before finding a spot to lay down my mat.

While we waited for the class to start, I gave myself a little pep talk. You are a runner. You exercise on the reg. You got this.

If Adam Levine can do this- so can you.
If Adam Levine can do this, so can you.

I tried to take my mind off the stifling heat by focusing on the indie slow jams drifting over the speakers and imagining I was on a relaxing tropical vacation. With 25 other ripped, beautiful strangers.  Wait, wasn’t this a reality show?

Before I had a chance to consider it, the class started. Almost immediately, I began to sweat. And I’m not talking  a little bit of “healthy glow” – I’m talking a full on, tomato-face, soaked clothing, worst fever you’ve ever had type situation.

It was less “Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon”:

Russia's Maria Sharapova serves to France's Marion Bartoli in Carson

More “Whitney Houston meets that Pilot from Airplane”: 



Since I could literally reach out and touch the people to my north, south, east and west, I started feeling really self-conscious about my sweat situation. I was sure the hot Australian guy to my left (note: I have no reason to believe he was Australian, other than his tanned skin and tighter than regulation t-shirt) could definitely smell the booze and Gouda fumes wafting off me like a nuclear cloud.

I tried to forget about it and focus on my poses. Which was no small feat, because as I quickly discovered, Yoga is HARD, yo. Not even 5 minutes in my calves were barking, my arms aching, the inside of my tank top becoming my own personal version of Niagra Falls.


No matter how hard I tried to keep up with the rest of the class, I was always at least a half-step behind. I’d descend into downward-dog a second too late, and end up fielding flying arms and legs like a real-life game of Mortal Combat.


…..Oh and there’s also the fact that I have no balance whatsoever. I have known this about myself since I was 10, and careened into a tree during my first skiing lesson. Apparently I thought Yoga would be different? I thought wrong.

I spent 80% of the poses feeling like Lucille 2 during a particularly bad bout of Vertigo.


I blame it on an undiagnosed inner ear problem.

Mercifully, the last 10 minutes of the class involved laying on the mat doing some light relaxation and breathing exercises. Minimal chance of embarrassing and/or hurting myself –> This, I could do.


When it was over, I felt exhausted, but also exhilarated. I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone. Plus, sweating that much is sort of an intoxicating feeling. Like some ancient form of blood-letting, where all of the demons, toxins and mini cupcakes are cleansed from your body forever. Sweat-letting. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Question of the Day: Are you a Yogi? Ever Tried Hot Yoga?

Like Father, Like Daughter

So as I mentioned in my last post, my dad came to visit me in Toronto this weekend.

Since his birthday is on Christmas and he perpetually gets the shaft gift-wise, my siblings and I decided to chip in this year and get him tickets to the Buffalo Bills game happening here.


Now, given my dad lives in small town Nova Scotia and has only been to Toronto once 30 years ago, I kind of expected his visit to resemble one 48 hour-long episode of Breaking Amish.


But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Dad soaked up Toronto like a sponge and wanted to experience everything it had to offer. He seriously wore me out. I’ve gotta start taking those iron pills.

The weekend got off to a rough start, however, when we experienced a slight luggage snafu at the airport. (I just love the word “snafu”. It makes even the most horrific problems sound like charming little anecdotes). I won’t get into too much detail because it’s kind of a long story, but know that in the end, we emerged victorious. And there might have been a little low-level B&E involved (By him, not by me of course: I have a professional reputation to uphold).

All’s well that ends well, right??

Anyway, with lady luck on our side, we prepared to tackle the rest of the weekend. (<— football pun).

Some highlights included:

  • Brunch Dates: (Sorry Karen.. had to cheat on you just this once)


  • My very first visit to the CN Tower


(And no, I did not step foot on that glass floor. Heights and I do naaaat get along.)

  • The Hockey Hall of Fame


Ladies- a word to the wise. If you plan on accompanying a man here, bring reading material. And maybe a flask. (Unless you’re one of those progressive ladies who are really into sports. In which case, have fun… and ignore my anti-feminist propaganda. )

  • The Allan Gardens Conservatory:



  • The St. Lawrence Antiques Market


This was a win for both of us. I checked out vintage jewellery and books while he bartered over old coins. I even scored this sweet vintage 1968 Bulova. #treat


  • He even got me to go to church. At least I got this cool instagram pic:


And, of course, the Bills game:


To say he loved it would be an understatement. We got kicked out of the stadium for lingering there so long afterwards. He loved the crowd and seeing all of the behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t see on TV.

I, on the other hand, amused myself by taking pictures:


Reaffirming my love for cracker jacks, and of course, Psy’s halftime performance.


Does this feel like a really long 15 minutes to anyone else?

I also feel like I got to know my dad a lot better this weekend. Like for one thing, he asks a LOT of questions. Here is just a small sampling of the many queries he had for me:

  • Are the Concession vendors inside Rogers Centre paid an hourly rate or by commission?
  • Who owns this building/when was it built/what is the occupancy/how many stories is it (Re: every single building we were in)
  • What does your landlord’s boyfriend do for a living?
  • Are the subway cars the same on both ends? What happens when it gets to the end of the line?

I guess I can’t really fault him; I, too, was notorious for my relentless questioning as  a child. I remember asking my older sister what other names my parents had considered for me, and she responded “Sun Yeoung”.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“She who asks too many questions.”

What’s that about an apple and a tree?

He was truly obsessed with the subway though.


He had never been on one before, and kept trying to convince me to take it to the end of the line just to see what would happened. Of everything we did this weekend, he told me the Bills game was his favourite, followed by riding the subway. I told him he was like a little kid who gets a gift and likes the box better than the present itself.

Dad also made like 800 new friends talking to every single person he encountered. Ticket scalpers, homeless people, construction workers, TTC employees, you name it. He knows all of them by name and their life stories. I hope he doesn’t get wind of the fact that we’re looking for a new mayor here in Toronto, or I may never have my apartment to myself again.

Question of the Day: Are you like your dad? Your mom?

P.S. I know you’ve been waiting for it. Here it is, folks: Track 3 from the mix-tape nobody cares about!

10 Olympic Sports Team Canada Might Actually Win a Medal In

I noticed today that Canada has won a measly 5 medals so far this Summer Olympics.

5 medals. For a whole country! That’s like, not even one medal per Brangelina kid. Michael Phelps HIMSELF won almost twice that many in 2008.

If you ask me, this lackluster performance can be attributed to two main factors:

1) I’m not on the team; and

2) They’ve chosen all the wrong sports to be part of the Olympics.




Table tennis?


….. the hell, IOC?

No wonder we Canucks aren’t busting out any medals in synchronized swimming or the Pommel Horse. We’re all too busy trying to keep our igloos warm and catch falling groceries out of Charter planes to engage in that foolishness.

In all seriousness, I think the problem with Olympic sports is overall more an issue of inaccessibility. How is the average Canadian supposed to afford  all those fancy equestrian Jodhpur,  or 18 years of gymnastics lessons with the Bella Karoli? Don’t those b*tches know it’s a recession?? And who has 8 hours a day to devote to weight lifting or swimming laps in an indoor pool? Not me, my friends. That would totally cut into my reality tv time.

If I had my way, in addition to swimming, tennis and gymnastics, the Summer Olympics would also include some activities that cater not only to elite athletes, but to the average Canadian as well. And since I’ve had some experience at being both average and Canadian… I figured I’d help the IOC out by giving them a few suggestions:

1) Beer Drinking

If there’s one thing we Canadians are good at, its drinking beer. And although we may face some stiff competition from our American cohorts, I’m confident that Canada still maintains the upper hand  for a few reasons:

  • Our beer has a stronger alcohol content on average = increased resiliency of our athletes.
  • Longer winters = increased level of training.
  • umm… Have you seen the movie FUBAR?

    • Or this guy?

I rest my case.

2) Barbecuing

While again, some might argue that this activity is not specifically Canadian, let me just ask you all you non-Canadians out there a couple questions: Ever fired up the grill when its 50 below zero outside? Cooked a moose steak the size of  your own head? Didn’t think so.

3)  Being Affable

Everyone loves a Canadian- what with our friendly, welcoming nature and our adorable little accents. Who else says crazy shit like “eh” and “aboot”?  #goldmedalshooin.

4) Going For Long Drives.

Canada is the second largest land mass in the world. Translation? Everything is really f*&cking far away. While in Europe you might drive for two hours and be in another country, in Canada, you might drive for 2 hours just to reach your closest neighbour. Or the liquor store. Undaunted by what some might perceive to be a challenge, we Canadians have embraced the fact that, as Tom Chochrane so aptly said, life for us, is a highway. Give us a few double doubles,  a good friend, and some Tragically Hip CDS and we’ll drive that sh*t all night long.

……….gimme gimme gimme yeah…

5) Complacency

If fence sitting were an olympic sport, Canadians would be the world champions. While some countries like to invade others and spend billions of dollars on defence, we aren’t really big on the whole “confrontation” thing. Sure, we’ll keep the peace and get involved if we have to, but for the most part, us Canadians like to stay home, watch old reruns of SCTV  and generally just give zero f*&ks about everything else.

And if that’s wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.

6) Canoe Sex

I don’t even think I need to comment on the extremely high degree of difficulty and technical skill required here.

7).  Cottaging

We Canadians have got the art of lounging dockside with a magazine and an ice cold drink down to a science. Sure, it might get a little boring for the at-home audience, but combine it with one or more of #1, 2, 5 and 6 and its bound to make for some serious must-see tv.

8) Road Hockey

Like maple syrup and original CBC programming,  road hockey is  yet another integral part of any Canadian upbringing. Best experienced in cul-de-sacs, this quintessential Canadian activity, which requires one or more players to carry the net offsite and re-set every time someone yells “CAR!”, combines the elements of speed, endurance, perseverance and most of all camaraderie.

9) Poutine Eating

There are few things Canadians take more pride in than this home-grown concoction of french fries, cheese curds and gravy. And what better way to show this pride than by eating copious amounts of it? (Best results achieved when combined with #1.)

10) Sewing Flags on Backpacks

Almost as famous as our poutine is our Canadian tradition of sewing miniature flags onto our backpacks and travelling around the world with them. Combined with both #4 (our affable nature) and #1 (our experienced beer drinking), we have made a reputation for ourselves worldwide as being both impeccable houseguests, and  just generally super awesome.

It’s true. Ask anyone.

So there you have it folks! If that list doesn’t get more Canadians atop the podium in 2016, then I don’t know what I’ll do.

……..Drink more beer probably.

Question of the Day:  What “sport” would you like to see in the Olympics?

…Remind me again why I signed up for this?

This past Sunday I participated in the Toronto Sporting Life 10k in support of Camp Oochigeas, a summer camp outside Toronto for kids with cancer.

The race was a huge success- over 22,000 people registered to run, and altogether, almost $2 million was raised for Camp Ooch.

I was excited to be running for such a great cause, but also a little nervous. I mean, it was running after all… not drinking wine and not bidding on any of the silent auction items like I normally do at charity fundraisers. But I thought, what the hell? I’d put in a few miles on the moving vessel of death treadmill over the winter, and even if I had to walk,  I knew I could probably finish it.

Although, my performance might look less like this:


and more like this:

… or maybe just this:

The morning of the race, I prepared the best way I knew how: by making an awesome playlist of “Call me Maybe” and the entire Mariah Carey Greatest Hits collection, and  wearing an obnoxious amount of pink:

Yeah. This’ll make me run faster.

As soon as I got to the race, I immediately set out in search of port-a-potties. I had gone before I left home, but because I have the bladder of a four year old child of my pre-race jitters, I needed to go again. I noticed, though, that the line was a good 100 people long. Probably because for over 20,000 runners, there were ONLY 12 PORT-A- POTTIES!! I knew if I waited, I’d never make the start, so I made my way back to my corral and tried to forget about the anvil sitting on my bladder.

I was amazed by the energy of the other participants. The race had drawn in people of all ages and fitness levels, and everywhere I looked, people were jumping around, laughing and cheering. I even saw some people doing a few “warm up laps”. Try-hards.

Then, the gun went off. The first km I didn’t even think about running because I was so busy trying not to get trampled to death. Sh*t felt like the running of the bulls, without the ambience.

I said a few prayers and let the sweet, sweet sound of Mariah guide me.

The course ran straight down Yonge Street in Toronto, which meant that (thank GOD) it was mostly downhill. The thing about closed courses though, is that there are no crosswalk lights. When you’re an urban runner like me, you get used to having those little 15-20 second reprieves from pounding your ass on the pavement, and so without them, I was really feeling the burn.

I tried people watching to distract myself, and found it funny how quickly some of the shiny-happy people I had witnessed at the starting line lost their veneer. Only about 2km in, I saw a number of people walking, some looking disgruntled and in pain, and even heard one agitated (and clearly undertrained) man screaming clearly over my Mariah: ” I just need some f*&*&ing WATER OK??”

After that, I tried to zone out and enjoy myself, but it was hard having to weave through so many people. I tried to channel my concert-going experience to jostle my way through the crowds, but the incentive just wasn’t the same. Instead of getting a better view and the rogue sweat droplets of an indie rock god  at the end, you just got to run more. Womp womp.

oh, and did I mention that this whole time I was dying of an intense and overwhelming NEED TO PEE?? They had promised port-a-potties en route, and at every mile marker, my eyes darted past the crowds and ironic homemade signs in search of that sweet, sweet blue goddess.  Finally, at km 7, I saw her- shrouded in a halo of blue light, in all her plastic, unsanitized glory: a port-a-potty.

I immediately made a dash for it, cutting off several runners in my path, and was just within reach, when a middle aged man wearing sweatpants cut me off directly and darted in, slamming the door behind him.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I could not believe the audacity of this sweatpants wearing gentleman. As I stood there, shifting my weight from leg to leg like an impatient child on a shopping trip, I thought of the many ways I could get back at him. You’ll pay for this, Sweatpants, I thought. Finally, SP finished his business, and the blue goddess and I had our much-anticipated moment.

There’s something to be said for the whole “objects in motion” thing. After my little potty break, I had a tough time getting back into it, and had to break up the last couple of km with a sort of run/walk system. I tried making it fun by picking out people in the crowd as benchmarks: “just run to the guy with the booty shorts” I told myself “..and then you can stop. And when you do, ask him why he’s wearing booty shorts“.

But finally, I crossed the finish line at 56:56.

I don’t have a pic of me at the finish, but here’s a pic of Kara Goucher at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials instead, because obviously I looked just like this:

Just kidding. I totally looked like a dying, waterlogged tomato.. but we can all dream, right?

Question of the Day: Have you ever run a race?

Observations of a Non-Sports Fan at a Major League Sporting Event

I’m not really what you would call a huge sports fan. Though I played soccer and basketball in high school, in recent years, my interests have diverged more towards other, less physically demanding hobbies- like watching animal-themed YouTube videos… and writing about my feelings.

My older sister Marija, on the other hand- is a sports fanatic. Whenever she comes to visit me in Toronto, she  always insists on going to a sports game (that, and a musical. She’s an enigma, I guess). Even though it’s not really my thing, I always oblige, because, well, I’m the best sister ever basically.  So this past weekend, when she was in town, I took her to see a Toronto Raptors game.

I didn't take a picture, but It kind of looked like this... only, with about 1% of the people.

The Raptors were playing the Charlotte Bobcats, who suck almost as much as they do…. and that combined with the fact that I know basically nothing about basketball anymore (that doesn’t start with “Jeremy” and end with “Lin“),  well, you can imagine what a riveting experience this was for me.

So, instead of paying attention to the actual game, I occupied myself by thinking about past sporting events I’ve attended. Besides the Raptors, I’ve been to a Maple Leafs Game, a Blue Jays game, and travelled to Buffalo to see the Bills play. Through all of this, I’ve developed a number of  insightful and ground-breaking observations about major league sporting events, which I’m going to share with you all today. (You’re welcome.)

  1. Athletes on TV are WAY HUGER than they appear.Seriously. These guys are freaking ginormous.. to the point where I don’t even think they’re real humans.  They’re like 150% better versions of humans. “Humans 2.0” you might say. Watch for it in 2013.
    Exhibit A: Of course a relationship is destined to fail when one participant isn't even a real HUMAN.
  2. People will do anything for free shit. There’s  just something about free shit that reduces us all to our lowest common denominator. Age, gender, occupation, how much money you make- none of it  matters. Dangle something free in front of us, and we all dance like the monkeys we are. It doesn’t even have to be anything good. People go ape-shit for an ugly ass t-shirt or a free slice of Pizza Pizza the same way they will for a laptop.
  3. Beer makes everything way more fun.  There is an undeniable correlation between the number of beers consumed, and the amount of fun had as a sporting event… as seen here on this highly detailed and legitimate graph:

    (it's really hard to write sideways)
  4. Open Air stadiums can get really effing cold.
    Trust me.

    ……… and, on a related note:

  5. A Garbage bag, no matter how durable, will never adequately protect you from the elements.  Take my advice –> invest in some northface.

    It's also highly likely that your friend will pass out next to you due to day drinking. It's all part of the process.
  6. You will find the most interesting people you’ll ever meet at a tailgate. Don’t let those pajama pants/dated leather bomber jacket fool you- these people are true salt of the earth. Not only are they fun to hang out with; they can also teach you a lot of cool things…like how to wear your moustache in interesting ways… or how to build a fire in an old-trash can.

    Exhibit B: Tailgaters who rule. I am forever indebted to you for helping me to walk in a semi-straight line after 6 beers before 11am.
  7. It’s all about the pageantry.  For a non-sports fan like myself, it doesn’t really matter if you’re talking penalties or three pointers- my disinterest remains pretty much at a constant. What does make a difference, however, is the pageantry. Just give me some dancing kids, some jokers dressed up in animal costumes and a rigged shooting contest, and  I’m eternally yours.  

    Exhibit C: NAUGHTY BY NATURE performing at the Raptors half-time show. Suffice to say, I am now down with both OPP, and the Raps. Win.
  8. Wach yo mouth.  Dude. Sports fans are agressive. I’ve literally seen fights break out at every game I’ve been to- typically instigated by some clown in a visiting team’s jersey talking smack about the homegrown heroe’s RBI (<— don’t actually know what that acronym means). These situations are known to escalate quickly, and can lead to prolonged chirping, insults about one’s mother, and spilled beverages.  Best to just mind yo’ business.
  9. If you buy the t-shirt, prepare to back that sh*t up. Girls are particularly bad for this- buying a tshirt in an effort to look “cute” and “sporty”, with no actual knowledge of the person whose name is emblazoned on the back. To give you a real life example, I bought a “Rios” t-shirt at a Jays game a while back, and wore it around for a good year afterwards, oblivious to the fact that his ass was traded shortly after the game. When someone chirped me that I needed to get a new t-shirt, I responded, in a shocked tone: “why?? is there a hole in it ??” 

    Exhibit D: Baseball Fail.
  10. Appearances on the jumbotron are best reserved for cute kids and ridiculous dancing…NOT marriage proposals. And if you don’t believe me, check out this vid: 

Question of the Day: Are you a sports fan? Any observations I’ve missed?

Marathons: Not Just For Masochists Anymore

“Hopelessly Inadequate” is not  something most people like to feel first thing on a Sunday morning- let alone when you haven’t even had your  sweet nectar of life morning coffee yet.  But feel it I did, as I sleepily stumbled out of my apartment and straight into dozens of dry-fit, numbered-bib clad runners, all making their way to the starting line of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Of course, “inadequate” was not the only thing I felt upon encountering these shiny, happy (presumably already caffeinated) individuals at 8 a.m. “Fat”  and  “resentful” were also thrown in there, peppered by a slight hint of self-loathing.

It also made me think back on my own experiences as a distance runner.

I’ve always considered myself somewhat athletic; I played soccer and basketball in high school, ran the occasional 5k, and have been sufficiently trained in the arts of  smurf-bitingfigure four leg locks; and the circle game due to having two older brothers.

Perhaps fuelled by this sense of  false confidence, 3 years ago I signed up to run a half-marathon.

Yeah- that happened.

I spent about 6 months training, running anywhere from 30-50 km/ week, and during this process, I learned a number of important lessons:

  • Chafing is no laughing matter
  • You will not lose any weight while training, because you will constantly be as hungry as Kirstie Alley on an all-protein shake diet
  • Cotton is not your friend
  • No matter what delicious sounding flavour combinations they come up with, energy gels will always taste like ass

and, most importantly:

  • Anyone who would ever attempt to run TWICE this distance- a full marathon- must be a masochist.

You see, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with running.  I mean, I do it and everything- but I’d be lying if I said I was primarily motivated by a love for the sport, rather than an overarching desire to look like Giselle Bunchden.

Image via

While I love the feeling of having completed a run, the process itself is usually  painful, and I spend most of my time wishing it were over. About 1 run out of 10, I manage to hit “the zone” and am all “one with my thoughts” and stuff; but  unfortunately for me, on the day of my half, instead of hitting “the zone”- I only managed to hit a deep dark zone called hell. For 2…straight….hours. I remember  seeing the full marathoners continuing on for another 21 kilometres, and thinking to  myself  that these people must be distant relatives of  Astar- the Robot from Planet Danger,  who are either impervious to pain, or have some sort of  sick fascination with it.

I can put my arm back on- You can't

But yesterday, as I looked at this group of runners on the street, I was surprised at how.. well… normal they all looked. In fact, their levels of fitness seemed to be less “Kenyan Immigrant” and more   “couldn’t watch a ‘Top Chef’ marathon let alone run one“. 

And there were so MANY of them. In fact, 3,951 people completed the full marathon this year. Waayyyt? I did a little investigatory journalism on google and discovered that  marathoning is incredibly hot right now.  The Boston Marathon sold out last year in under 8 hours, and marathon participation in the US is up nearly 10% in the past two years.  It seems like any joe blow is doing it-  joining a Team In Training to raise money for charity, or simply crossing off another item on their “bucket list”. Time Magazine even published an article about this phenomenon recently. They blame Facebook.

I blame Star Wars.

I find this all very frightening. We stage interventions for people who engage in other sorts of self-harming behavior, like cutting, or crystal meth additions, and yet we all stand by and watch marathoners throw themselves at the mercy of the unforgiving running gods time and time again. What gives??

I called up a Marathoner friend of mine (who has completed two ridiculously fast marathons, and qualified for Boston in her first shot..I’m convinced she’s part gazelle), and asked her point blank why she puts herself through this. She gave me two reasons:  

1. The “Runner’s High” you get after completing a marathon is apparently one of the most intense feelings of natural euphoria. 

Fair…. But that sh*t fades. I’m not buyin it.

2. Carbo Loading.  When training for a marathon, you can basically eat whatever the hell you want… and in the weeks leading up to the marathon- your diet is meant to consist of approximately 70% Carbohydrates.

THERE it is.

It’s so simple- why I didn’t think of this. You little marathoning robots aren’t exceptionally virtuous OR masochistic… you’re just hopelessly addicted to pasta and dinner rolls. Instead of feeling jealous of you,  I should be feeling sorry for you.. or offering to fix you a salad.

Well – I guess if we’ve learned anything here today, it’s this:  Friends don’t let friends run marathons. 

……Unless they offer for you to be their plus one at the pre-race pasta dinner.  Then I guess its ok.

Question of the Day: What’s your view on Marathons?

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑